I recently placed some Facebook ads about my practice, in which I used the phrase “Autism Recovery.” I received numerous appreciative and positive responses. I also received several angry comments, decrying my use of the word “recovery,” and suggesting that I was judgmental and uninformed.
I think this issue is terribly important. Accordingly, rather than dismiss these critics as “haters,” I chose to respond to the commenters, to [hopefully] clarify my intentions, and perhaps inform this particular audience of my two-fold perspective on autism. I have shared my response with you, below. Please feel free to forward it to friends and anyone you know who is affected by autism and may not know there is a “new idea” in town, namely: Recovery from the debilitating aspects of autism is possible.
For me, there are two central tenets to autism recovery – first, that you have to believe (to hope) that autism recovery is possible, and then, with that belief, with that hope, to work to organically heal the child’s body. I am eager to hear your views on each of these issues, and to know how you experience them in your life. Please leave a comment below, and tell me how you feel about the idea of “autism recovery”!
I am sincerely sorry for causing you offense. I respect and honor every child, and would never want to suggest otherwise. I see autism on two different platforms—the spiritual and the organic.
On a spiritual level, I believe in neurodiversity and the beautiful and unique perspective in which people with autism connect with the world. I have been amazed by some of the art created by people with autism. A friend of mine once referred to people with autism as angels placed on earth to remind the rest of us as to how to be human. I am more spiritually aware because of my interactions with people on the spectrum, for which I am grateful.
On an organic level, however, empirical studies consistently show that the digestive tract and the immune system in children with autism are, more often than not, compromised to varying extents – from mildly to severely compromised. I encourage you to look up the phrase “leaky gut,” a condition many people with autism have – whether they know it or not. There is a connection between some of these underlying organic conditions and the disabling aspects of autism. My use of the word “recovery” pertains to the elimination, or at least improvement, of those underlying conditions.
The work we did with my son, Ben, involved organic healing, which directly translated into meaningful, behavioral shifts. From no eye contact whatsoever to consistent and truly engaged eye contact. From phobias to functioning. From no communication to consistent and invested communication. From palpable and debilitating anxiety to self-confidence (for a 13-year-old, that is) and healthy, age-appropriate levels of excitement or nervousness. From an utter lack of interest in other people to a keen and expressed desire for friendships and relationships. From little to no demonstration of feelings to expressions of comfort and love.
In a Facebook ad, however, I am not able to express the subtle aspects of this dichotomy between the spirit and the body, nor was it my intention to do so. My intention was, rather, simply to invite families to consider the idea that their children can lose some of their disabilities and express even more of who they are. If the child has no disabilities, then clearly the ad is not intended for them (or their parents). That said, I will definitely take the time to review the ad copy, as I am troubled that the message you received was so far from that which I intended.
Again, I am very sorry that you interpreted my ad to suggest that I was judging or criticizing you or your child. Nothing could be further from the truth. With warm wishes, Susan
So what do YOU think? Are you a fan of the idea of Autism Recovery? Does this phrase trigger strong feelings in you? How does this phrase apply to you and your family’s journey? Again, please forward this post to anyone you think it might bring hope. And don’t forget to leave a comment below! Your comments help me understand what families are going through, and how I can serve them. If you’d rather correspond with me privately, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you so much!